Dr. Jose Delgado Famed Mind Control Doctor and the Community College Named After Him
José Manuel Rodríguez Delgado (August 8, 1915 – September 15, 2011) was a Spanish professor of physiology atYale University, famed for his research into mind control through electrical stimulation of regions in the brain. His work opened many doors to the understanding of brain activity with the use of electrical stimuli.
In Rhode Island, Delgado did some work at what is now a closed mental hospital. He chose patients who were “desperately ill patients whose disorders had resisted all previous treatments” and implanted electrodes in about 25 of them. Most of these patients were either schizophrenics or epileptics. To determine the best placement of electrodes within the human patients, Delgado initially looked to the work of Wilder Penfield, who studied epileptics’ brains in the 1930s, as well as earlier animal experiments, and studies of brain-damaged people.
The most famous example of the stimoceiver in action occurred at a Cordoba bull breeding ranch. Delgado stepped into the ring with a bull which had had a stimoceiver implanted within its brain. The bull charged Delgado, who pressed a remote control button which caused the bull to stop its charge. Always one for theatrics, he taped this stunt and it can be seen today. The region of the brain Delgado stimulated when he pressed the hand-held transmitter was the caudate nucleus. This region was chosen to be stimulated because the caudate nucleus is involved in controlling voluntary movements. Delgado claimed that the stimulus caused the bull to lose its aggressive instinct.
Although the bull incident was widely mentioned in the popular media, Delgado believed that his experiment with a female chimpanzee named Paddy was more significant. Paddy was fitted with a stimoceiver linked to a computer that detected the brain signal called a spindle which was emitted by her part of the brain called the amygdala. When the spindle was recognized, the stimoceiver sent a signal to the central gray area of Paddy’s brain, producing an ‘aversive reaction’. In this case, the aversive reaction was an unpleasant or painful feeling. The result of the aversive reaction to the stimulus was a negative feedback to the brain. Within hours her brain was producing fewer spindles as a result of the negative feedback. As a result, Paddy became “quieter, less attentive and less motivated during behavioral testing”. Although Paddy’s reaction was not exactly ideal, Delgado hypothesized that the method used on Paddy could be used on others to stop panic attacks, seizures, and other disorders controlled by certain signals within the brain.